What to expect on a TEFL course

Whether you are a backpacker, flash packer, RTW traveller, or doing any other style of long term travel, funding your trip is always going to be something you have to think about. These days it seems, one of the best ways to do this is by teaching English as a foreign language abroad. There are so many benefits involved in this for any traveller out there. For a start, you actually get to live and work in a country, allowing you to really get to know it from a local’s perspective. In most cases you also get a good paying job, and low cost of living expenses (depending on which country you pick), therefore giving you the ability to save for your next trip without having to go home!

One thing however, that prevents many people from becoming a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher, is they either don’t think they would have the right qualifications needed for such a job, or are confused about which one’s to take. It is for this reason that I decided to complete a TEFL course myself. I wanted to find out exactly what qualifications where actually needed, what the course was like, and how easy it would be to then find a job overseas Teaching English. Also, there are many different types of courses, including some which are “in the classroom” training, and some which are online, or a mixture of both. I decided to go with TEFL Scotland as my choice of certifier.

TEFL Scotland for those who don’t know, are a fully accredited and international recognised TEFL provider. By the name, you have probably guessed that they are based in Scotland, however one thing I liked about them was that it was possible to take a course even if you didn’t live anywhere near Scotland. They offer a combination of both in the classroom and online learning. Even if you are not based in Scotland, you can still do an online course with them from anywhere in the world or you could even make a trip out of it, and come do one of their weekend courses where you get the in the classroom experience many employers are looking for. Another reason why I chose to go with them was that they are also on of the most affordable, with courses ranging from £60 – £350. They also have many jobs listed within their website for TEFL Scotland graduates all around the world with some of their sister colleges.

The course I took covered a variety of topics. Everything from classroom techniques, activities, what seating plans work best, how to gauge the ability of your class, English grammar, visual aids, teaching theory, good teaching resources, and a host of other things… I went into it thinking it would be really hard to teach someone English without me being able to speak their language, but I came out realising how remarkably easy it could be if you apply a few certain techniques, activities, and teaching skills. Probably the most valuable aspect of doing an in the classroom type class (as apposed to all online) was that you actually got to take a class as though you would in a real teaching job. Having to actually get up and teach something got rid of any first time nerves that may have cropped up in your first teaching job, and also showed you that with proper planning, teaching English can be fairly straight forward, and also fun! It also allowed the teacher and other classmates to critique you and give feedback before you started teaching real students, and allowed you to fix any glaring mistakes, or make improvements.

Overall I found taking a TEFL course very rewarding. I may have been lucky, as our TEFL course teacher Rachael was excellent! However, the course covered so many topics, and showed me that teaching English is much more in depth than I thought, but also something that is very doable.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need to take a TEFL course to get a job teaching English. There are many people who get teaching jobs without one however it does definitely help when getting a better paid TEFL job. More importantly however, it really does help prepare you for the job. After my course at TEFL Scotland I have since decided to top up my knowledge with a short online course to get me up to the 100 hours that a lot of TEFL employers are looking for. I will be comparing the two on here, and detailing how successful I found attaining a teaching English job afterwards. One of the major problems I found before picking my TEFL course provider and course was being able to determine what course was best for me. Hopefully in me continuing to document the process on here it may help you or anyone else interested in TEFL to pick the right course for them.

This will be a 4 part post on RunawayJane.com, so be sure to sign up to my RSS feed if you are interested in finding out the results, or in doing something similar. You can also find out more about courses at TEFL Scotland in particular by clicking here.

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5 Responses to “What to expect on a TEFL course”

  1. We’ve been pondering doing a TEFL course for I don’t know how many years. I’m sure many avenues would be open to us once we’ve done one. Will keep up to date with your follow-up posts.

  2. Lou Superwalker says:

    I did my course through TEFL Express and they were great. I’ve recently signed up to do the 40 hour teaching english online course through TEFL Scotland. I’m afraid I’ve had nothing but problems with them. They told me they’d contact me with my username and password within 4 days. 2 weeks later I hadn’t heard anything so phoned. The lady on the phone was a bit rude but said she’d send my username and password which she did. So I went back to the tefl scotland site but i could not find where i was supposed to login and start the course..I spent 3 hours trying to find out how to login before phoning them back. The lady then tells me I need to login at teflcoursesonline.com. How was I supposed to know this? I recieved nothing from them until I contacted them. And why didn’t they send me my username and password when it was ready. I was really really angry with them.
    Never mind never mind, off to Argentina soon so shouldn’t moan!!

  3. Ian Leahy says:

    As far as requirements go TEFL certificates are not always required. In fact in most of Eastern Asia they are not usually. However, they can be preferred and it could give you an edge over someone who doesn’t have one especially if they don’t have experience.

    More importantly they should adequately prepare you for the classroom.

    But…

    Be careful though as I spent $1000 for an in-class course that I thought did not prepare me for teaching in Asia. Years later I developed some resources and online TEFL courses that are very practical and useful.

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